Two down, ? to go

Long ago, I abandoned any pretext of keeping a second car in my two-car garage. The non-car half waxes and wanes with junk. For example, a ripped pouffe — initially a small hole exacerbated by a curiously nimble four-year old fascinated with “fluff” — and a lopsided table — don’t ask — have been collecting dust for nearly a year. Had we not discovered rodent dookie along the wall last week, I am confident both pieces of furniture would be there next year. See, the only way I can get rid of them is to haul them to the dump.

I hate going there. I think it’s because I have guilt pangs at throwing something away that could conceivably be repaired by someone with Shao-lin mastery of furniture maintenance. Typically, I talk myself into keeping whatever-it-is with the hopes that I’ll actually need it, or could possibly repair said item into serviceable condition again. It never happens. With my guilt trumped by my newly-found motivation at minimizing the places rodents can hide and things they can eat, I spent most of Sunday cleaning out my garage.

I was more or less done by 2pm, though there was ample space in the car for anything else I could find. The crawlspace had some lumber from the previous owner (7+ years ago) that I’d been keeping “just in case I had a project.” For the most part, the wood is leftover, unrecyclable scrap that the previous owner didn’t want to take to the dump, either. When I went into the crawlspace, I noticed two of the traps. One had tripped empty while the other was still set. There were two more, but I didn’t really think to look for them since I was channeling my efforts into getting to the dump before it closed.

I was surveying the crawlspace:.

This is was a bag of grass seed. At the top left of the bag, you can see the hole the rats chewed in the bag. The black thing in the top right is one of four traps placed in the crawlspace. It is untriggered. The black spool thing is some random plastic garden edging. The little dark pellet things are not chocolate chips! Although this is going to be unpleasant to clean up, it could be far worse. I’ll just roll up the plastic vapour barrier and lay a new one in its place.

I had filled up the van and made one last trip down there when out of the corner of my eye I saw something staring back at me…

If you’re squeamish, do not click on any of the four images below.
Not for the squeamish. This photo is the rear-side of one of the rats caught in the trap. The axel of a garden spreader blocks the truly gory part. The rat is about 7″ long with a fairly long tail. This is a Norway Rat.
The second photo is the gory side of the same rat.

So, we have confirmed that there are indeed rats in the crawlspace. “Two Hands” as Woodstock would say. The plan is to patch up the obvious entry points on Wednesday and reset/re-bait the traps. On Sunday (maybe), I’ll replace the insulation and vapor barrier to remove the (cough) contaminants.


  1. We’ve been working on getting rid of stuff, too. We started with our second car- now we are back to one car. I have a big pile of scrap wood, plus some styrofoam. They’ll meet different ends; the scrap wood will become fuel for a backyard s’mores session.

    The styrofoam will be cut up and go in our (tiny) garbage can as space allows. We usually only have one kitchen trash bag per week, but it’ll still take a couple weeks to toss the styrofoam. It’s too bad Seattle doesn’t recycle styro.

  2. Have you considered freecycling your old furnature and other junk? It’s amazing what people will take off of your hands. For example, I had a bunch of chipped and cracked dishes that someone cheerfully took home to make a decorative border for their garden.

    We’ve had old stereo speakers that were cat-peed-on, car seats the goodwill wouldn’t take, unbootable and obsolute computers, all kinds of crap that we would have taken to the dump instead taken away by other people who had some sort of plan for the item we would have discarded.

    We were supposed to get our garage organized this summer so a car wouldn’t be parked in the garage. Unfortunately, we still have too many bicycles. We got rid of the trailer, but we still have an extra kid’s bike, a beater bike, and a nice hybrid needing good homes. And even so, parking the remaining tandems, road bikes, and mountain bikes around the two cars will remain a challenge.

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